We all just witnessed a small-town revolution initiated by the community who shared the love of their town to #thedalles and beyond! How awesome is it to be a part of what is happening in this community. This is just the beginning of something big!

Both non-profit and for-profit organizations, business owners, property owners, city officials and the community all coming together to work for the common good of the community by creating economic development through revitalization of our city, job growth, and new housing. A byproduct of this growth is a visibility outside of The Dalles, and a buzz that affects people’s choices of where to land when they visit the Columbia River Gorge area. The great thing about this is this spirit that we are showing to the outside world. It is something this community has had for a while and channeling it will be the spur that kicks into action excitement to visit and build families and homes in The Dalles.

This community is great! There are over 40 organizations that I know of working within their expertise to better The Dalles and give back to the community in the form of different projects. Sharing the love, creating a buzz, and working together is what will shift the dichotomy of giving from being fully funded by our community, businesses and the city to being partially or fully funded by those outside of The Dalles.

We want and need outside dollars to grow this community and provide services to help the homeless, at risk youth, struggling families and more.

Every dollar that is brought into The Dalles by boat visitors, state grants, new development, bikers, hikers, campers and other vacationers has an economic impact. We see it all starting with The Dalles area Chamber of Commerce “Cherry Fest” in April and ending with “cruise nights” during August. Businesses all over town will tell you that their biggest challenge is  the “off” season, they do well during tourist season.

Economic studies show that every dollar that is brought into town typically gets multiplied in the community on average 30 times. That means that $100 spent by outside sources in town represents $3,000 to our community.

Imagine a large event or group of events that is collaborative, promoted, marketed and cross promoted throughout the year so that the choices people make when they decide to travel in the spring, summer, fall and winter brings them to The Dalles? Imagine how our local businesses will be impacted if organizations work with businesses in planning events to ensure we are not pulling customers out of stores but inviting them in? We have that power in our community, we can affect this change if we work and plan together. We can grow and support each other by using this methodology.

For example, during the last two months following an October “better together” event hosted by Columbia Bank, individuals and organizations got together and wrapped the towns October events into a theme called “Spooky Town 2019.” This series of individual events wrapped together under this promotional theme gave The Dalles an opportunity to advertise to the rest of the Columbia River Gorge area and beyond what a cool place The Dalles was to visit in October.

It was the beginning of a movement to unite for common goals for our community. We loosely followed this with a series of events in December with a working theme of “Christmas in The Dalles,” and then got a boost from the TV show Small Business Revolution. The excitement was building and this final push was not only real, it was infectious. We should now be looking for opportunities to build on this collaborative excitement and use it to advertise The Dalles to the outside world.

In the past organizations in our community worked together under one brand to promote groups of events under the Fort Dalles Rodeo theme. I’ve seen marketing materials for events over at least two weeks and have seen pictures of the streets flooded with people celebrating. I have talked with people who told me there were thousands of visitors during these events and it was amazing!

There is a small planning committee right now working together with a vision proposed by our mayor to bring a group of as many as 200 local and worldwide artists to town for a festival of art, music, food and community. This will be a collaborative effort and we will be asking the entire community to be involved. There are logistics that one entity will not be able to accomplish by themselves. We will need organizations to operate in their expertise, or “their lanes,” to hammer out the details and execute together in order to pull this off.

It is exciting to see, and it is going to be huge!

We can bring bigger economic vitality to The Dalles. We have everything we need to support our community, grow it and still maintain our small-town charm. I’ve said it before, The Dalles is happening! Visitors, developers, homeowners, business investors and contractors have all overlooked our town for years, but people are starting to notice.

Word of mouth and social media is a powerful tool. We can use it to propel this community.

Be a part of this change and work with us together—“All for One The Dalles,” “Love the Dalles,” “Explore the Dalles,”—“One Town One Team!”

I’m excited, let’s do this #thedalles.

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